Senegal cruelly knocked out courtesy of defeat to Colombia

James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao- Colombia

Colombia sealed passage into the knockout rounds of the 2018 World Cup while condemning Senegal to elimination following a 1-0 win on Thursday evening.

Poland defeated Japan 1-0 in the other group match.

The South Americans are now third and need a win in Samara to guarantee a place in the last 16, while the African side are second and will progress with at least a draw.

Colombia, which played in the quarterfinals four years ago in Brazil, finished atop its group and is the fourth South American team to advance.

Senegal remains Africa's only hope for a place in the next round but face an uphill task in an overcoming a Colombia team that is n the ascendancy and also have their key player - James Rodriguez peaking at the most crucial time.

Both Japan and Senegal had even goal differences and had scored four goals each, but Japan advanced as runners-up because they only picked up four yellow cards in the group stage, while Senegal had six.

Desperate late Senegal attacks failed to yield a goal that would have kept them alive and as Colombia legend Carlos Valderrama celebrated, Mane and his team-mates were stunned. From the resultant corner, Ospina had to dive on the ball ahead of Mane after Mina's attempted clearance had deflected back towards goal.

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku to recover from injury in time to face England
That was despite the fact England have not won a knockout game since the World Cup in 2006. England and Belgium have already qualified from group G.

Colombia were being pushed back against the ropes and suffered a big blow when they lost James Rodriguez, who has six goals and four assists in seven World Cup appearances, to a calf injury just after the half-hour mark.

Mina rose highest in the box to power home his header pass Ndiaye in goal for Senegal.

However, after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee, Serbian referee Milorad Mazic overturned his own decision and signaled only a drop ball. Japan, content with a 1-0 defeat to Poland in the simultaneous match, was stalling because it would advance if the scores remained the same.

Carlos Sanchez returned to the Colombia line-up after suspension.

Senegal opened the tournament in Russian Federation with a 2-1 victory over Poland and followed that with a disappointing 2-2 draw against Japan.

The teams will meet at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday in their final World Cup 2018 Group H game. Current coach Aliou Cisse was the captain of that squad.

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